Title: The Great Alone
Author: Kristin Hannah
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Publication Date: February 6, 2018
Ratings: 4/5Kristin Hannah’s The Great Alone is a beautifully written and emotionally charged novel that transports readers to the unforgiving landscapes of Alaska, where a family grapples with the complexities of love, survival, and the darkness that lies within. With its evocative prose, vivid descriptions, and compelling characters, this book is a testament to Hannah’s storytelling prowess.
Plot Synopsis from Goodreads:
Ernt Allbright, a former POW, comes home from the Vietnam war a changed and volatile man. When he loses yet another job, he makes an impulsive decision: he will move his family north, to Alaska, where they will live off the grid in America’s last true frontier.
Thirteen-year-old Leni, a girl coming of age in a tumultuous time, caught in the riptide of her parents’ passionate, stormy relationship, dares to hope that a new land will lead to a better future for her family. She is desperate for a place to belong. Her mother, Cora, will do anything and go anywhere for the man she loves, even if it means following him into the unknown.
At first, Alaska seems to be the answer to their prayers. In a wild, remote corner of the state, they find a fiercely independent community of strong men and even stronger women. The long, sunlit days and the generosity of the locals make up for the Allbrights’ lack of preparation and dwindling resources.
But as winter approaches and darkness descends on Alaska, Ernt’s fragile mental state deteriorates and the family begins to fracture. Soon the perils outside pale in comparison to threats from within. In their small cabin, covered in snow, blanketed in eighteen hours of night, Leni and her mother learn the terrible truth: they are on their own. In the wild, there is no one to save them but themselves.
In this unforgettable portrait of human frailty and resilience, Kristin Hannah reveals the indomitable character of the modern American pioneer and the spirit of a vanishing Alaska―a place of incomparable beauty and danger. The Great Alone is a daring, beautiful, stay-up-all-night story about love and loss, the fight for survival, and the wildness that lives in both man and nature.
Kristin Hannah’s The Great Alone is a beautifully written and emotionally charged novel that transports readers to the unforgiving landscapes of Alaska, where a family grapples with the complexities of love, survival, and the darkness that lies within. With its evocative prose, vivid descriptions, and compelling characters, this book is a testament to Hannah’s storytelling prowess.
Hannah’s writing is immersive and atmospheric, capturing the raw beauty and dangers of Alaska with precision. Her descriptive prowess brings the Alaskan wilderness to life, enveloping readers in its unforgiving nature and showcasing the simultaneous allure and brutality of the environment. The author’s attention to detail is exceptional, transporting readers to a time and place that feels vividly authentic.
The novel also delves into important social issues, such as domestic violence and the impact of war on veterans. Hannah handles these themes with sensitivity and realism, shedding light on the challenges faced by individuals and families caught in the cycle of abuse. Through Leni’s perspective, readers witness the devastating effects of trauma and the resilience required to break free from destructive patterns.
The pacing of the book is generally well-paced, with moments of intense action and emotional upheaval interspersed with quieter, reflective scenes. However, there are instances where the narrative feels slightly repetitive, elongating certain sections unnecessarily. This occasional pacing issue, while minor, does detract from the overall flow of the story.
In conclusion, The Great Alone is a powerful and evocative novel that showcases Kristin Hannah’s ability to create richly layered narratives and deeply human characters. With its immersive setting, poignant themes, and beautiful prose, this book is a compelling exploration of love, survival, and the resilience of the human spirit. While it may have some pacing issues, the strengths of the storytelling and the emotional impact of the novel make it a highly recommended read. The Great Alone earns a solid four-star rating.